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Marko: Mercedes secret test is like 2007 spy scandal

Mercedes under fire for secret tyre test
Mercedes under fire for secret tyre test

Formula 1 may soon be rocked by a massive penalty fine, in the wake of the Mercedes secret tyre test, on the scale of the spy-gate scandal of 2007.

The FIA is expected to convene a meeting of the international tribunal, to consider the matter of Mercedes’ ‘secret’ Pirelli tyre test.

Ferrari, along with Red Bull, filed the official protest in Monaco.

“You might expect a sporting penalty,” Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the Associated Press.

“But because it is not really clear what could be the effect on the race weekend, it may be bigger than that,” he added. “Because there is no precedent, I have no idea what should happen.”

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, however, believes there is a precedent.

Bernie Ecclestone, Helmut Marko and Niki Lauda
Bernie Ecclestone, Helmut Marko and Niki Lauda

“There will be a hearing,” he told Bild newspaper, “although I do not know when and where. It is in the direction of the spy scandal of 2007 between McLaren and Ferrari,” added Marko.

The outspoken Austrian is referring to 2007, when the FIA considered banning McLaren but ultimately excluded the British team from the constructors’ championship and issued a record $100 million fine.

Marko makes the ‘spygate’ comparison because he alleges Mercedes’ advantage from the exclusive 1000km test with its 2013 car and race drivers will be far-reaching.

“A test like that is even more of an advantage if it is immediately after a race, because you have all of the comparative data, so you can make very decisive improvements. Until now the tyres have had a steel (internal) belt but now it’s going to be kevlar, which is the tyres that were tested,” he is quoted by Swiss newspaper Blick.

“That is what we are going to have in Montreal, so Mercedes does not only have an advantage for Monaco,” added Marko.